DCSIMG

Curler shrugs off his disability to head for fourth Paralympics

WHEN Tom Killin was paralysed following a road accident at the age of 17, he thought his active life was over.

A keen footballer who had represented the city at junior level, he was to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

But now, more than three decades on, the Abbeyhill father is to appear at his fourth Paralympic Games, and is one of the odds-on favourites for a podium place as part of the UK's wheelchair curling team in Vancouver.

The 59-year-old has been selected in the final squad, only five years after he took up the sport, completing a remarkable record of participating in four Olympic sports at the games over a 30-year period, including basketball, fencing and table tennis.

He told the Evening News: "I've taken part in two summer games and this will be my second winter event.

"I was in the original squad and that was then whittled down.

"I'll be one of the older ones in the team, so I'll be able to pass on some experience of previous games I've been involved in."

It was 1967 when Mr Killin, who lives with wife Maggie and has a daughter Shona, 25, was involved in the accident on Regent Road.

"Pretty soon after it, they said to keep active and eventually it all led to this," he said. "It helps your recovery and I absolutely was not going to sit back and feel sorry for myself."

His first games were in Arnhem in 1980, which is where he met Maggie, who was herself a former Paralympian fencer.

"It takes you right round the world, you see some amazing places" added the Hibs fan. "I'm away somewhere every month, it's a full-time job now."

After 37 years working in the whisky industry, he now trains four or five days a week on the ice, and attends nutrition and conditioning sessions at Heriot-Watt University weekly.

Chris Hildrey, the chairman of British Curling, said: "I'd like to congratulate these athletes on their selection by ParalympicsGB as we enter the final stages of preparation for medal success in Vancouver.

"The passion, commitment and professionalism they have displayed over recent months along with the support of their families, has been admirable."

The games will take place from 12-21 March, with the UK curling team made up entirely of Scots.

BRUSHING UP ON THE RULES

THE wheelchair version of the winter sport does not differ terribly from the original, with some adaptations for those in wheelchairs.

The "granite donuts" are thrown from a stationary chair rather than the small run-up able-bodied athletes take.

There is no need for the team of sweepers, putting the pressure on the athlete.

The weight of the equipment and size of arena is identical, as is the scoring system.

Some competitors are able to throw the stones normally but push sticks are available.

• www.paralympics.org.uk

• www.britishcurling.org.uk

 
 
 

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